Sarah is a Program Coordinator
In the expanding field of child and youth care, one of the newer career opportunities is the position of Program Coordinator. Some childcare centres have a full-time Program Coordinator on staff while others use the services of a private consultant who provide support for several different locations or organizations.
The position of Program Coordinator at the Dalhousie University Children’s Centre began as a pilot project that soon led to a permanent position. Sarah had been working in the toddler room at the centre for nine months when this position became available. “I have truly enjoyed my time working with an incredible team in the toddler program at the Dalhousie Children’s Centre,” says Sarah. “However, the move to Program Coordinator will provide me with a new set of experiences that I’m very excited about.”
As Program Coordinator, Sarah acts as a liaison between staff and management and provides support when needed in the classrooms. She researches resources and information for staff on pertinent early childhood issues. Additionally, Sarah organizes and implements professional development opportunities for staff based on their identified interests and the requirements of the program. Professional development is very important to Sarah and to her organization. “I really feel that in early learning and care you need to be passionate about what you’re doing because if you’re not passionate then no one else is going to follow you.”
Before pursuing her Bachelor degree in Child and Youth Study, Sarah earned a diploma from a childcare institution. With her ECE diploma in hand, Sarah had the opportunity to work in front-line childcare and as a daycare director. Although she enjoyed her work, Sarah soon realized that to progress in her career she must further her education and obtain a university degree. “My diploma was serving my current occupation, but not what I wanted to do in my future,” she says. “My degree in Child and Youth Study at the Mount prepared me for a coordinator position.” Sarah also indicates that one of the most important things she learned from the degree program is how to be a skilled researcher. As a Program Coordinator, it is important for Sarah to be able to find information quickly and present it appropriately, skills she learned and practiced in the degree program.
Sarah advocates for the childcare profession by serving as a member of several formal and informal groups of colleagues. She serves on the board of the Nova Scotia Child Care Association and is a member of “Leading Edge”, a group of assistant directors and program coordinators who meet monthly to share knowledge and to discuss their work and current issues in childcare.
Her passion for the profession is what fuels her fire. “I definitely have my hand in a lot of different pots because I think it’s important that we promote the profession as well as gain that momentum with other people to create more solidarity,” she says.